Tuesday, January 27, 2015

January 27th, 2015 If We Were Robots

January 27th, 2015 If We Were Robots

I slept in really well today. It was a vacation day and I made the best of it, no alarm and slept until I didn't want to anymore. While enjoying my coffee, I noticed an article about plant based diets posted to my Facebook page, with the question:

"Care to comment on this? It's that argument (i.e. lie) that you can eat all the plants you want and lose weight."

The article was written by medical professionals at www.pcrm.org PCRM stands for Physicians Committee For Responsible Medicine.

It starts with: New research from the Physicians Committee shows a plant-based vegetarian diet is an easy way to help you lose weight without counting calories. And goes on to say: “The take-home message is that a plant-based diet can help you lose weight without counting calories and without ramping up your exercise routine,” says Neal Barnard, M.D., lead author of the study, president of the Physicians Committee, and an adjunct associate professor of medicine at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences. “We hope health care providers will take note and prescribe this approach to patients looking to manage their weight and health.”

I personally have a friend who eats strictly plant based foods and she still struggles with weight loss, just like the rest of us. So after reading the entire article, I did comment:

On the surface, it would appear to be a solid plan with great tips. If we go down a little below the surface, we quickly run into issues medical experts often fail to recognize and consider.  It amazes me when highly educated professionals put together textbook plans like this, for humans, without considering the human element. 

If we were robots, we could easily be programmed to follow the recommendations to the letter, every time. If we were robots, these tips would give us exactly the kind of results a plan like this intends. But we're not robots, we're people; humans, with emotions, stress and  an individual path affected by our lifetime experiences.

Before the human element is even considered, let's discuss simple calories in Vs. calories out. Many plant based foods are naturally low in calories, of course. Still, it's easy to get into some fairly calorie dense selections in this category. When we're talking about avocados and legumes, especially. And yes, they're extremely healthy—packed full of good stuff, but still calorie dense.  And what about the calorie dense addition of olive oil and other things we often use to make all of this food more palatable? To suggest eating these things with few restrictions, if any, is a guaranteed path to weight loss, is a flawed suggestion from the start. When you start exploring the human element, you quickly discover these plans and suggestions are perfect for the most well adjusted and unaffected people on our planet, or programmable robots.

Someone who has a history of stress and emotional eating, not to mention those of us with food addiction behaviors, should never, for a second, adopt a plan that suggests eating without limits.  Yes, the food within the plan is good for us, but what happens when we encounter the triggers of stress or emotions? Let's assume we stay within the food allowed, all plant based.  Are we capable of buffering our emotions and stress with additional food and calories?  Yes, we are capable. 

The idea of ditching the calorie budget, on one level, is very attractive, especially to someone like me who has a history of stress/emotional eating and food addiction issues. But it ISN'T attractive to the sane/rational part of my brain. It's ONLY attractive to the part of my brain that's itching to take over in a no-limits/less restrictive structureless environment. 

Structure is important for the majority of people who find themselves in need of weight loss. For many of us, ignoring the psychological and emotional elements while attempting a prescribed “perfect” plan, is like driving a car without lug nuts on the wheels. Eventually the wheels are coming off.

If we embark on a plant based plan and we're careful with the calorie budget, and we work on the issues within us, the ones often compelling us to eat more, then yes, wonderful results straight ahead! If we're affected by emotional/stress eating and/or food addiction issues-and we ignore the structure and limits needed for our individual success, then we'll quickly head toward frustration with negative results.

It would be much easier if we were robots.
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Today felt like a weekend with all of the Saturday/Sunday challenges in keeping a slightly off center food plan. I didn't eat my first food of day until Noon. I wasn't hungry again until over four hours later. In order to take care of the calorie budget and not fall short, I decided on a late afternoon lunch and then dinner after the weekly evening weight loss support group teleconference. Had this been a normal day, my goal would have been to have dinner finished before the call.

I made it to the YMCA this afternoon for some upper body lifting and cardio. It's very interesting to go at different times because it's a completely different crowd.

It was a very successful day! Tomorrow is weigh day. After the two pound loss from three weeks ago, I honestly have no idea what I'll see on the scale at the doctor's office tomorrow. Whatever it is, I'm ready for it, no matter what. I'll be well, regardless.

My Tweets Today:




















Thank you for reading and your continued support,
Strength,
Sean

17 comments:

  1. I saw Cara Cara oranges. I should have gotten them!! I eat a plant based, whole foods diet, with plenty of veggies and little fat. It makes me feel at my best. We all have to find what works!! I have a lot of weight to lose, but I mostly enjoy eating this way for the way it makes me feel.

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    1. I'm loving the Cara Cara oranges. You're spot on--we all find what works for us! I can't say I eat anywhere near plant based--but just the improvements I've made--I notice a big change in how I feel!

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    2. If you get the chance again, I highly recommend the Cara Cara oranges!

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  2. Hey Sean, regardless of what the scale says tomorrow (I have no doubt that it will be a great result), your activity and food intake has been stellar. Kudos to you, my friend. ~ Vi

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    1. Thank you, Vi! I'm feeling really good. Four more pounds down! 129 over the previous 40 weeks.

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  3. No doubt that your WI is going to be stellar. I don't know of anyone who is so on spot with their eating and exercise plan. Seriously... You just have it together and it amazes me every time I read your blog. You have it all so put together. Kudo's to you!!!
    Good luck today! You'll do amazing!
    Rosie

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    1. Rosie, I must give credit to the incredible support system I've assembled, with several people just a text away if I start feeling like I'm slipping--add to that the accountability of this daily blog and the extreme accountability of the twitter feed. Without these things in place, I wouldn't be in this position. :) Thank you, Rosie!

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  4. Funny you bring up calories. Read my post for today (and part 2 tomorrow.) :)

    Plus, there are many previous vegans and vegetarians that gave it up due to weakness, and are now firmly members of the paleo or primal nutritional mindsets. I do believe we humans were built to eat meat. Millions of years have proven that. And I do believe that wheat is toxic. I know we don't agree on that. But anyhow, I believe most people will benefit from eating more fresh vegetables. But if they eat calorie dense beans and starchy tubers...they aren't going to lose weight for long.

    I also personally believe that people with binge eating disorders would have a hard time feeling the need to 'OD' on fresh veggies that aren't starchy. Pretty sure that there is literally no such thing as a fresh veggie binge that would be unhealthy, unless it's loaded with chemicalized salad dressings. ;) Again, just my own beliefs. :)

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    1. I will get over there and read! I always enjoy your writing. You get down to the nitty gritty, Gwen! And you're sassy! (that's a good thing).

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  5. Unfortunately, I've seen too much "vegan" junk food at this point to believe that it's any sort of automatic solution that will let anyone eat without limits or consequences.

    I've seen vegan fake soy meat "crumblz," fake plastic cheeto-orange vegan "cheez" sauce, fake vegan ice cream, fake vegan cookies, fake vegan brownies, fake vegan EVERYTHING. I've seriously seen fake vegan barbecued ribs! God knows what they were. For way too many people, vegan means eating like a six-year old, only now instead of actual food, everything is made of super-processed, neon-colored, disgusting fake stuff. It's just as unhealthy, though.

    If you have serious problems with junk food, you can DEFINITELY pack away thousands of calories of processed, fake garbage that came out of a test tube and still tell yourself that it's "vegan" so it's okay.

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    1. I agree, Janis. The suggestions that irked me was the words "easy" and "without restrictions and calorie counting." If I were to give it a go--I guarantee, just like the examples you've written about here--I could easily find a way to circumvent the original intent of the plan!

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  6. Thank you for your take on the plant based diets. I think all these professionals that are offering weight loss projects - have not had a weight problem. That is why they are so convinced about "calories in- calories out" being the answer. Never thought of the robot method being the way to accomplish weight loss - but now realize all the times (4) I have lost large amounts of weight, put it back on with more than I lost - - - I had treated myself like a robot. Didn't take into consideration the psychological, emotional or addictive end of human operation. Did not waver during the "dieting phase". Was not a successful venture in the end, obviously, as I ended up 153 lbs higher to start over this time. Have lost 39 lbs over the past 2 years so need to get serious - but not back to the "robot method" for sure. Thanks Sean
    N~

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    1. I always thought that calories-in-calories-out is the GOAL, not the cure. The whole issue is how do you get your mind to let you arrive there?

      I mean ultimately yes, that IS what causes people to maintain a fit, stable weight ... but the whole complexity lies in how you get your brain to play ball. THAT is the cure, and it's hard as hell.

      It's like saying that the cure for insomnia is to just fall asleep -- ain't the case, by a long shot.

      And I agree with you about how so many useless solutions to weight problems are created by people who don't have them. I feel the same way about natural virtuosos offering tips and tricks to playing instruments, and natural athletes offering solutions to help people get fit.

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    2. The "robot method" approach can get those results--for sure--but as you've described--if it's not us, if it's a diversion from us...then it all goes away as soon as we return to us. Excellent comment, Nancy. Thank you!!

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    3. Janis-- LOVE this: "...but the whole complexity lies in how you get your brain to play ball. THAT is the cure, and it's hard as hell. It's like saying that the cure for insomnia is to just fall asleep -- ain't the case, by a long shot."
      Also--the analogy of virtuoso's offering tips on how to play an instrument...spot on.

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  7. I think ANY diet has room to be relatively healthy, or relatively unhealthy, depending upon follower interpretation!

    Whatever happens with the scale, you are rocking it Sean! :-)

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    1. "...depending upon follower interpretation!" Yes, indeed! Thank you, Neca! It went well! Another 4 pounds down-- 129 pounds over the previous 40 weeks.

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